Sammy Lee Rejects Brighton; Joins Southampton

  • June 29, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Sammy Lee has reversed his decision to join Brighton & Hove Albion, instead agreeing to take up a coaching role at Southampton.

On Friday, it was officially confirmed that Lee had agreed to become assistant manager to Sami Hyypia at Brighton - leaving his role as Head of Academy Coaching and Development at Bolton.

However, the 55-year-old has made a shocking u-turn on his decision and will link up with Southampton on Monday as part of Ronald Koeman's coaching staff at St Mary's.

In an official statement, published by The Bolton News, Lee apologised for his decision and wished Brighton well for the season ahead.

"I was thrilled to be offered the job at Brighton and I was excited at the prospect of working with Sami Hyypia again - but, totally unexpectedly, I have been given an opportunity to work in the Premier League.

"I fully appreciate that this is not an ideal set of circumstances and I am very sorry for the inconvenience and any embarrassment my change of mind, after the announcement was made, has caused. However, at this stage of my coaching career, the opportunity to work again at the very top level of English football was not something I felt I could turn down.

"I hope that everyone at Brighton - including Tony Bloom, Sami Hyypia, Paul Barber and David Burke - and the club's fans can understand the difficult predicament I found myself in and why I made this decision.

"I would like to thank Tony, Sami, Paul and David for the opportunity to join Brighton and I genuinely wish them, the club and the fans the very best for the season ahead."

Lee's statement came after Brighton chief executive Paul Barber had expressed his disappointment at Lee's decision, insisting the club could have played hardball and made the former Liverpool man work out a notice period.

"It is extremely disappointing for the club, Sami Hyypia and those of us who worked hard to bring him here, that Sammy Lee has now reversed his decision after agreeing to become assistant manager," Barber told Brighton's official club website.

"Nobody at our club, or Bolton Wanderers, was aware of any interest from Southampton until several hours after we announced Sammy's appointment as our assistant manager. It's certainly not a situation any of us have come across before.

"Having already agreed his contract and terms with us to start work on Monday, we could have insisted on Sammy serving a notice period, but we all feel it would have been counterproductive to do so; and while it's incredibly frustrating for us we wish Sammy well.

"Our focus now is on working with Sami to help him recruit his assistant - while also supporting him to bring in the players he needs to improve the squad for the new season."

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
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9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
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